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A Speaker From The Jackson Area?

August 31, 2011

While we are a long way from knowing who the next Speaker will be, there is the possibility that a Speaker may be elected from the Jackson area. Something that hasn’t happened in what I refer to as the modern era.

Sam Lumpkin of Tupelo served one term as Mississippi Speaker of the House from 1940-1944. Lumpkin’s one term was typical of most up to that point. Speakers would serve a term and then someone new would take over. Because of this it is difficult to keep track of every Speaker and their hometown. (Its possible, just tiring). For this post, I am considering 1944 the beginning of the modern era for House Speakers.

Walter Sillers would take over in 1944, begin the longest run as Speaker in state history, and transform the post. Sillers was a native of Rosedale in Bolivar county. John Junkin of Natchez would serve from 1966-1976. Buddie Newman of Valley Park (in Issaquena county) would control the gavel from 1976-1988. He would be followed by Tim Ford of Baldyn who served from 1988-2004. And most recently, Billy McCoy of Rienzi would serve from 2004-2012. So after the one and done tradition was broke in 1944, McCoy’s two terms would actually be the shortest reign.

In those hometowns mentioned, you heard a lot of small towns and communities and no one from the capitol region. Two Speaker’s from the Delta, two from Northeast Mississippi, and one from Southwest Mississippi.

This year, we have one active candidate from the metro area and two who look to be serious contenders but haven’t made any formal statements yet. Democrat Cecil Brown is from Jackson. Republican Philip Gunn is from Clinton and Mark Baker is from Brandon. Any of these men winning would be a modern era first. Another first would be if Republican Mark Formby of Picayune took control. He’d be the first Speaker from Southeast Mississippi.

Also, Northeast Mississippi has controlled the post for 24 straight years with Ford and McCoy. Republican Jeff Smith of Columbus is definitely running, and Democrat Tyrone Ellis of Starkville is also a possible candidate. Still, the region’s grip on the gavel is in jeopardy.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Coast Rat 4ever permalink
    August 31, 2011 8:52 am

    I’m all for it! Long over due.

    Jackson COUNTY that is…

  2. Clayton permalink
    August 31, 2011 9:34 am

    Don’t forget Bobby Moak. He doesn’t represent a Jackson area district, but has lived in the Jackson area for years even sending his kids to private school in Jackson. His “residence” may be in his district but his home is certainly in metro-Jackson.

  3. Chip Reynolds permalink
    August 31, 2011 10:14 am

    picayune is in southwest MS

    • August 31, 2011 12:16 pm

      I get what you’re saying but I was considering what is the present day 4th CD Southeast MS. I consider Natchez, McComb, etc. SW Mississippi.

  4. bullygal permalink
    August 31, 2011 10:28 am

    Don’t forget Sid Bonderant, from Grenada! Smith is probably the R’s best chance depending how the November elections (R vs D) turnout. Besides, Gunn, Ellis and Brown are way too radical to rule!

    • Ivehadbetter permalink
      August 31, 2011 3:29 pm

      Gunn too radical to rule?? How much time have you spent at the Capitol? Also, the Doc had best keep his eye on his own district before he jumps headlong in to a Speaker’s race.

      • bullygal permalink
        September 1, 2011 4:44 pm

        Been around the Capitol enough to know Gunn is not the leader, Mark Baker is the Republican legislative leader, he has an opponent, his experience in the House (since 2004, 2 terms), was limited by McCoy (D), and he supported Rep.Smith until this year for the speakers position. The November elections will be very important for any who want to become Speaker.

        • Hinds Lawyer permalink
          September 1, 2011 6:39 pm

          bullygal, you are spot on. Mark Baker has the trust of the House Republicans.

        • Paladin permalink
          September 1, 2011 7:18 pm

          good observation, and rightfully so!

  5. Rankinlawyer permalink
    August 31, 2011 10:45 am

    Bullygal, your comment does reinforce the idea that Bondurant would be the moderate republican choice. I don’t see the Republican caucus going for a moderate.

  6. Bill Billingsley permalink
    August 31, 2011 11:13 am

    I just hope no bad blood is spilled among the conservative candidates, because there are going to be a lot of them. At some point in the proceedings they’ll need to unite behind a single candidate, because the numbers may not allow them to sweep to victory along partisan lines. Should be interesting…

  7. Hinds Lawyer permalink
    August 31, 2011 6:51 pm

    I think you need to look at who the Republican caucus have chosen as their current leader.
    Mark Baker

  8. I want to ask permalink
    August 31, 2011 6:56 pm

    That facebook group for Gunn was started with out asking all those who were included, a little smoke & mirrors.

  9. Demo-North permalink
    September 1, 2011 4:58 pm

    I think the race for Speaker is wide open. I do Smith is quietly(which seems to be his style) getting commitments from all over the State. I do not know but in North Miss the word is by November the Republican candidate should be known, depending on the General Elections. I wish Democrats had
    some sort of Organization, but then that would be an oxymoron.

  10. Demo-North permalink
    September 1, 2011 4:59 pm

    Opps……”I do hear”…….

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